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2020 Digital Landscape Trends

According to Hoorah Digital CEO, Shaune Jordaan – understanding which metrics matter to your business is more crucial than ever before. When brands and businesses are monitoring the metrics that align to their commercial goals, it becomes significantly easier to gain traction in the digital space and realise opportunities for growth. 

Analytics are the competitive advantage

Big data is still all the rage, but data alone is not particularly useful. Data needs to be organised, analysed, interrogated and interpreted before it can be used to improve marketing.  In 2020 there will be even more emphasis on the insights obtained from big data, and how marketers use these insights to inform decisions, actions and strategy at large. 

Analytics help teams stay focussed, accountable and objective. There’s no hiding behind the big creative idea, but increasingly about taking the transparency that data and analytics allow for seriously and ensuring the creative is always strategically aligned to the business goals. 

As our appreciation for data grows, so does the realisation that data is not numbers, graphs and tables, it’s people. Data is your customer profile, a guideline for a dynamic strategy and better ROI. 

Shaune Jordaan, Hoorah Digital CEO.

Hyper personalisation 

Not a new trend, per se, but hyper-personalisation continues to be a key marketing consideration for all brands. Hyper personalisation sees the focus moving from the brand itself to placing the consumer at the centre of the strategy. 

As it becomes harder to capture your audience’s attention, the need to personalise is no longer a “nice touch” but central to the success of the campaign. 

Personalisation is a way to cut through the clutter, though it is important to always do it with trust and authenticity. The shareability of the personal experience is equally important, it being the 21-st century word-of-mouth. 

More video 

No surprises here as video has grown exponentially in recent years and is likely to continue for the next five to 10 years. 

Video certainly isn’t limited to YouTube and continues to grow in popularity across channels and platforms. Brands should be incentivised by the fact that Google is 53 times more likely to place a website that includes a video on the first page of search results. 

In 2020 marketers will do well to think about shoppable video content, 360-degree video content for a more immersive experience, and live video wherever it makes brand or campaign sense. 


Marketers want to make sure they’re there for the micro-moments, those seconds when people turn to their phones to satisfy a need, whether it is to know something, to buy something, to go somewhere or to do something. 

People want these momentary needs to be satisfied immediately, which is why marketers need to “be there, be useful, be quick”, as per Google’s description. And it’s not only about being there in the moment, but also about delivering relevant content, making it easy for the customer to make a purchase and to ensure that the moment is a pleasant one.


Assegai Awards Recognise Ads24 In The Experiential Media Category

The Assegai Awards acknowledge exceptional results in the field of integrated marketing and score the entries on: Strategy 30%, creativity 30% and return on investment (ROI) 40%. Ads24 are the proud bronze winners for the ‘Experiential Media’ category of the Assegai Awards for their 2019 Food for Thought event, Robots vs Humans.

Food for Thought is an annual event that aims to engage and inform leaders and decision makers in the media, marketing and advertising space, through a thought-provoking event that focuses on cutting-edge developments and future trends impacting business, politics and lifestyle. 

Ads24 Brand Manager Marise van der Lith said, ’We are delighted to have won our very first Assegai Award. We are passionate about creating campaigns and events that go well beyond PowerPoint presentations and fact sheets. We continuously strive to improve ourselves, so by establishing a place in the Experiential Media category of the Awards, we are setting a benchmark against which we can measure the impact of future campaigns.’

This year the Food for Thought campaign focussed its attention on the theme Humans vs Robots where the speakers Brad Shorkend, Richard Mulholland and Rapelang Rabana highlighted the pros and cons on a human vs AI reality and sparked stimulating debate among participants.


The Riverbed Agency Scoops Two Assegai Golds

The Riverbed Agency team at the AwareOrg campaign launch.

Riverbed took home two Gold Assegai awards for its Aware.Org One on Nicol campaign in both the Face-to-Face Activations/Field Marketing and Social Media (Social Media Platforms) categories. 

The Assegai’s acknowledge and award those whose integrated marketing campaigns deliver exceptional results. 

CEO and founder of Riverbed, Monalisa Sibongile Zwambila said, ‘2019 has been the start of a concerted effort to become an award-winning agency. We’ve delivered on integrated campaigns that have delivered on our clients’ bottom line, and in addition, helped position Riverbed around our great work, which is also good work. What I mean is that our greater good philosophy of creating social impact work is even more rewarding when it is effective.’

Bridget Johnson, agency ECD added, ‘We’ve moved away from traditional operational structures and approaches within the agency, and collectively buy-in to an ideas-led creative mandate. So, we’re intentionally bringing in new people who come from diverse industries and disciplines, which helps to cultivate a loose and fluid work environment that supports an ideas-first culture. The value for clients is evident in the novel concepts presented, the successful implementation and the results delivered.’

Other recent wins include seven Prisms, including a Silver for Campaign of the Year and Riverbed was ranked in the Pendoring’s Top 10, too.


Provantage Media Group Relocates Head Office

The new Provantage Media Group (PMG) building is 6,500m2 made-to-fit Head Office situated at the corner of York and Bond Streets in Ferndale, Randburg, it houses all of the PMG divisions together with the PMG Training Academy and the central digital control room from which all digital media platforms are broadcast and managed.

The international infrastructure provides advertisers with a wide range of media and activation platforms and services designed to deliver effective and targeted advertising solutions. PMG currently operates in 15 countries, and offers diversified products, services and integrated solutions including brand activation, transit media, billboards, mall media, street furniture, golf course media and airport advertising.

The company, which was started in 2003 by CEO Jacques du Preez, is today ranked as one of the biggest Out of Home media owners in South Africa and on the continent, with offices and operations across Africa and The Middle East. 

 ‘It has been an incredible journey of growth for the company and our new Head Office reflects not only our leading position within the industry, but represents a space that allows for all our divisions to be in one environment rather than spread out across various office locations. It is an extremely exciting period along the journey that started all those years ago, and as a team we all look forward to settling into our new headquarters,’ noted Du Preez.

According to du Preez, having the entire team under one roof solidifies and extends the strong company culture and spirit that defines the entire team that makes up PMG. The company operates on a set of values that define how it approaches its business operations, however these also define the company culture and focus of providing a positive, creative and collaborative working environment for the team. 

‘Planning to have the entire PMG operation on one site was put in place some time back and it is extremely satisfying to see it come to fruition. I’ve always firmly believed that if we all work together, we can achieve virtually anything. We have built a business that can compete with the best in the world.’

‘This is the culture instilled at PMG. Our new office is yet another step in ensuring that as a company we uphold this. Constantly working together as one, delivering world class advertising solutions while continually striving for service excellence,’ concluded Du Preez.


The Role Of Technology In Brand Security

Image source: http://alwaysdetective.com

Paula Sartini, founder and CEO of BrandQuantum mentions that while technology is a key challenge for data breaches and fraud, it also has to be part of the solution. Governance, Risk and Compliance software offer companies a solution to address several of the GRC challenges they face by automating mundane reporting tasks and providing a single view of the requirements. 

However, companies need to also gain visibility into the compliance environment of the future if they are to limit potential risks and threats.

Companies cannot rely on a single solution to address potential issues, they need to safeguard their customer data by implementing solutions that provide internal security standards and equip their customers to prevent possible data hacks and breaches. By using automation software solutions that help companies to deliver consistent brand experiences and provide verification tools in every email, for example, customers are less likely to fall victim of possible phishing scams. However, beyond this, the company needs to also have measures in place to prevent fraudulent emails from being sent from within the organisation too and minimise the possibility of identity theft.

How can your customers trust you if you don’t take precautions to protect their personal information?

Brand value is a key component to a company’s success and it takes several years to establish by implementing a brand strategy that supports the business. However, in today’s digital environment, brand value can be compromised in a matter of minutes and negatively impact the brand and company. As such brand security is an issue that needs constant attention from various departments including the C-suite to minimise possible reputational damage to the brand and the associated risk of losing customers.

Data hacks are happening more regularly today. These incidents impact brand reputation and safety and highlight the need for companies to take privacy issues more seriously as the repercussions of not doing so carry serious reputational damage for brands. According to the IBM 2018 Cost of Data Breach study, if a data breach causes an organisation to lose just 1% of its customers it will cost the business on average $2.8m (£2.1m), and if it loses more than 4% of the customer base the cost is closer to $6m (£4.7m). The costs associated with a data breach are made up of lost business, negative impact on reputation and employee time spent on recovery.

Paula Sartini, founder and CEO of BrandQuantum.

As such companies cannot afford to ignore the reputational risk of a data breach and need to have measures in place to maintain trust with customers.

The role of compliance and regulation

Customers are often required to provide personal information to companies for a variety of reasons and expect companies to have stringent measures in place to protect this information and mitigate possible risks of data breaches and hacks. This is supported by findings of a recent study by RSA Security, which identifies that more than 57% of consumers blame companies for data breaches rather than hackers. Further, the study states that a loss of customer trust is the biggest risk associated with data breaches and hacks. This should be a key concern for every organisation, as once trust is lost, it is near impossible to win it back.

To alleviate some of the risk, countries have introduced regulations such as the local Protection of Privacy (POPI) Act and Europe’s GDPR, to ensure companies operate with transparency while protecting customer privacy and using data responsibility.  While South Africa is yet to indicate the fines associated with breaches of the POPI Act, the GDPR has announced two tiers of administrative fines for non-compliance: €10 million or 2% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher; and €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher. In many instances, this fee is equivalent to the 2-3 percent marketing budget that organisations assign annually. While this should be a concern for companies, the reputational damage of a breach should be the biggest concern for organisations as it is far greater than the value of a fine.

While government compliance and regulations should be adhered to, companies also need to implement their own compliance and risk standards internally to keep customer data secure from possible hackers and third parties.  For example, marketing departments often use website tools to target customers online and share customer details with third-party companies to create personalised campaigns. Both of these examples expose customer details to third parties and increase the threat of customer data being hacked.

To combat this, companies need to remove the segregation of duties from a single department and combine the expertise of the marketing, legal and IT departments to build brand trust and mitigate possible brand risks at all times. In doing so they will be adding additional layers of security to prevent data breaches both within the company and via potential hackers.

Internal standards

While marketers are generally familiar with the threat of data breaches, in many instances they do not have insight into the particular vulnerabilities associated with marketing data and how to safeguard it. This requires the expertise of both the legal and IT departments to put measures in place to counter the possible risks.

To improve brand security, the marketing, IT and legal departments need to work closely together to combine technology, data management, content and customer experience. In larger organisations, Brand Security Officers have been appointed to focus entirely on protecting the brand reputation of the company. This role is charged with assessing, mitigating and managing marketing risks while looking at issues such as fraud, viewability and transparency. In essence, this role is responsible for guiding the organisation in terms of data security and customer privacy.

Automation software presents a solution to help mitigate certain risks by automating tasks according to business objectives and brand standards. This will see all components and rules merged into a holistic solution and remove the segregation of duty from a single department to minimise potential risks to customer data and fraudulent activities.

Consistency and authenticity build trust

While marketing departments are faced with the challenge of capturing the imagination of the customer while ensuring data privacy at the same time, brand consistency and authenticity should be the foundation at which customers establish a relationship of trust. This is achieved, for example, by using primary fonts which can be harder to replicate, email signatures with built-in verification tools and documents that meet compliance standards such as correct director details and company addresses.

To achieve this, technology should be implemented, not only to automate repetitive tasks, but to ensure that the company is able to establish trust with customers in every interaction. In addition, technology should be used to provide a layer of added security to the organisation while providing data and analytics to determine possible risks, mitigate fraudulent activity and gain visibility into how its brand is being used to engage with customers.

Customer trust and a company’s reputation is too important to be left to a single department. To be successful in safeguarding customer’s details, companies must tackle the challenge from various angles and implement several solutions that make it more challenging for hackers to access their information. At this time, technology savvy companies that implement solutions to safeguard their customer data are putting themselves at the forefront against the competition. However, in the future, this will become standard practice to protect their customers and meet their expectations.


The Matchmaking Model In Agency Selection

Angelika Kempe, Executive Consultant at AdOps.

Marketing directors know the drill: every three to five years, they start a formal tender process to choose new marketing service providers. Often, they do so under the watch of an internal procurement team that is under massive pressure, due to a lack of both resources and insight, stated Angelika Kempe, Executive Consultant at AdOps.

This does not bode well for the outcome, given that marketing procurement is particularly nuanced and requires a unique understanding. To comply with internal procurement policies, brands are compelled to regularly put their marketing and advertising business out to pitch. This applies even if they have successful partners in place. It’s time to consider alternatives to this time-consuming and costly practice.

Companies have two broad pitch options: a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach or using a pitch consultant. The DIY method works out in the end, but often only after the company has released the same tender several times without selecting – at a steep cost in time and resource to client and bidders alike. There is an added credibility risk to brands when companies don’t get the bidding process right the first time. The main culprits are misalignment between procurement and marketing teams, and changes in the scope of the work put out to pitch.

What about pitch consultants? The good ones have a thorough understanding of the client’s business, the industry and the supplier landscape needed to ensure a rigorous process, that facilitates solid governance and an independent evaluation process. Yet this approach is not necessarily cost-efficient or suitable for every company or pitch.

The biggest failing of pitches, even with the benefit of an expert pitch consultancy, is sustainability. The average industry length of client and agency tenure points to a flaw. Ironically the test drive principles of ‘try before you buy’ so fundamental to marcomms practices, is not deployed by the industry itself and therein lies the challenge.

Our years of experience in pitch facilitation has often led us to question the need for complex, costly and time-consuming pitch processes. And in the context of a frail economy, smarter, cost-efficient solutions are not only relevant but essential. We have therefore started to move away from the traditional pitch scorecard towards a more sustainable matchmaking model, applying metrics, alternate insights and experience to pair the right client with the right supplier.

Introducing the matchmaking model:

There is some science to this: well-established methods such as the enneagram or insight tools are used for team selection. This increases the chance of success and shortens the time taken to onboard agency personnel. But it’s also about pairing the client with an agency that is right for its profile, maturity and complexity.

The landscape is increasingly competitive, and a good pairing of the jockey and horse, wins the race. And increasingly in tough trading conditions, the win and sustainable value often lie in a workhorse agency rather than the trophy-ware of a high-profile agency.

Our early experience with the matchmaking model has been encouraging. It is quick, has a high success rate and the skills of the agency and the client are typically well-matched and builds in the crucial element of trial – the essential courtship before the nuptials. The matchmaking process is based on a deep understanding and intimate knowledge of how the client operates and which agency would be a good fit with its approach to collaboration, the deliverables and quality it is seeking, and the sort of agency relationship it needs.

We still advocate a fuller, more rigorous process for high-resource, high-spending clients, but find that the matchmaking alternative is ideal for the more innovative, small to medium spenders. It is a sound alternative for those seeking more innovation and less convention in managing supplier selection. Apart from the benefit of sustainable pairing, it is low risk because marketing and procurement still get the final say. And materially, it saves two scarce resources – time and money.


Standard Bank Picks Wunderman Thompson

Standard Bank selected Wunderman Thompson in a five-way pitch where the scope of the work covers the full digital remit beyond campaigns, including Technology, UX, CRM and social. 

This is a significant win for Wunderman Thompson as it broadens the agency’s engagement with Standard Bank beyond its current technology engagements. The relationship with Standard Bank stems back to over a decade, and so this win further cements a longstanding partnership. 

Haydn Townsend, Group CEO of Wunderman Thompson SA stated that, ‘In a world where performance marketing and online experiences affect the brand as much as communication does, our appointment becomes pivotal. We are shaping the ‘Brand as Experience’ components of the marketing mix that is taking a very powerful seat at the table due to its rise in importance to the consumer.’

Haydn Townsend, Group CEO of Wunderman Thompson.

This win carries massive significance in an emerging playing field that is characterised by a plethora of new players, most notably from the consulting space. The agency’s ability to maintain its high ground in the face of this is a testament to a business that is leading the way in its proficiency to leverage the digital tools available to modern marketers.


Six Points To Consider When Creating Content For Your Brand Campaign

Zubeida Goolam, Co-Founder and Creative Partner at Brandtruth/DGTL.

According to Zubeida Goolam, Co-Founder and Creative Partner at Brandtruth/DGTL, trust is built by a brand’s credible and constant visibility. It is estimated that individuals are exposed to between 4000 and 10,000 advertisements a day. Why would any of these users stop, take notice and act on your call to action? Because they trust your brand. 

Here are six points to consider when building a campaign to get brands out there:

Where are you going?

Determine what the campaign will focus on, what needs to be communicated, to whom, and what the objective or call to action is. This will determine what messaging and creative execution would be best suited to the campaign.

Make it great

The creative executions used in digital media need to be carefully considered as this element alone can contribute to a 47% sales lift. This was announced at Google’s Marketing Platform Event in Dublin, Ireland recently.

Mix it up

Using a mix of video and photo elements keeps it interesting for the audience and provides a greater opportunity to display and showcase products and services. According to research by Buffer, video content on Facebook generally gets 59% more engagement than any other type of posts. Their research also confirms that the use of vertical video delivers better results than square or horizontal video due to the fact that most people access digital content on their mobile devices. The key with video is to land the marketing message within the first three seconds.  

Get (social) brownie points

Digital content, regardless of the channel it goes out on, drives social media engagement as this is where many South African consumers spend a considerable amount of time. According to Statista, there are 16.9 million Facebook users in South Africa at the moment, with a total of 23 million users across social media platforms. Statista also states that there are 39.3 million active internet users in South Africa, and the average South African spends about 8 hours and 32 minutes online per day. 

Make your words count

Any digital content needs to be created with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in mind. Using Google tools, determine which words the target audience is using to search for the products or services on offer, and incorporate these into your strategy and copy.

Break it down

Reporting and analysis will provide concrete evidence on whether the campaign is a success or not. Keeping an eye on the analytics will help determine whether changes need to be made while the campaign is running. Cleverly and creatively designed digital content can help a business to rise above, cutting through the clutter and making it a digital hero.

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I See A Different You And Scotch Leader Collaborate On Soweto Heart Whisky

Creative agency I See A Different You (ISADY’s) founding members, Fhatuwani Mukheli and Vuyo Mpantsha, are changing negative misconceptions about Soweto – primarily through photography – and were highly involved in the conception and making of Scottish Leader’s new Soweto Heart whisky, which is exclusive to South Africa.

Scottish Leader invited the duo to visit Scotland and meet with the Scottish Leader blending team, headed by Dr Kirstie Maccullum. Said Mukheli, ’Scotland was a mind-blowing experience. How the mixing of all the elements comes together to make a Scottish Leader whisky is incredible; it is, in fact, both an art and a science. The team at the distillery were nothing but edifying and welcoming. We told them about some of our favourite flavours back home and the wonderful memories they conjure, which they captured beautifully.’

Although Scottish Leader Soweto Heart was crafted in Scotland, it is inspired by South Africa, with tasting notes of milk chocolate and toffee to satisfy the South African sweet tooth. The label and carton design also reflect the collaboration between Scotland and South Africa. The result is a fusion of the renowned Scottish tartan and a more contemporary South African pattern, brought to life with vibrant colours and textures.

‘We at Scottish Leader are thrilled to share this new variant with South African whisky lovers. While we have had the pleasure of working with ISADY on previous projects, this is definitely the most exciting venture for all of us. ISADY has welcomed us into their world, and we wanted to extend the same courtesy by welcoming them to our home in Scotland,’ said Lynsay Sampson, marketing manager: whisky and white spirits at Distell.

‘ISADY embodies the Scottish Leader philosophy that magic can be found simply by taking a different view on the world around you. They have been instrumental in dispelling long-held negative perceptions about Soweto, and showing instead the pride of Sowetans, their sense of style, their love of art, and the vibrance and energy of the township,’ continued Sampson.

To celebrate the launch of Soweto Heart and showcase its namesake’s origin and heritage, ISADY will be visiting and documenting a few of Soweto’s diverse neighbourhoods over the next few weeks. These will include Pimville, the real home of ISADY; Dube, made famous by Moroko Swallows; and Mfulo, best known for having the first movie house in Soweto – Eyethu Bioskop.


Brands Can Enhance Customer Engagement Through AI

Image source: www.fintechfutures.com

The main reasons organisations turn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is that they dramatically improve efficiency, can reduce errors and save time. They are also used to produce exceptionally detailed and useful business performance analysis. This is according to Ashleigh Wainstein, director of Martech firm, Social Places.

The use of AI and Machine Learning is on the rise but it’s important to know which reputation management processes should and shouldn’t be automated. AI, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) models, allows computers to understand and decipher what a human is saying. This is starting to be used by companies in South Africa responding to customers through online channels. It also being employed increasingly in the reputation marketing sector. Businesses with online listings and reviews can automate much of the reporting and customer interaction that these platforms provide.

Ashleigh Wainstein, Director of Social Places.

Customer engagement

Customers are warming to the idea of AI because it provides a way to get quicker responses. Review responses can be semi-automated through NLP and AI but it is important to always have a human eye to ensure 100% accuracy and personalisation.

It is important that there is some customisable wording in the response to the customer, but much of the information can be automated. It’s important to have strategic keywords and elements in your review responses and software can ensure these elements are dynamically added, making the responses feel personalised and relevant to the rating and review.

Some interactions should never be automated. A good example is responses to negative comments, reviews and complaints. If a customer had a bad experience at a business and has left an online review or comment, there should always be a human interaction and response to that. It shouldn’t be left to a machine or bot to handle, or worse, be left in a void or ignored.


In order for automation to work, it has to be adapted to specific business sectors, behaviour, regions and languages. Google and Amazon have some of the best pre-configured AI models but these have to be modified and trained to make them do what we want them to do. For instance, machine learning models basically read text, but in South Africa we have 11 official languages and a lot of local slang, as well as brand-related words. We have to teach the models South African languages and idioms and integrate them into what we have built.

One of the models we use is the just-launched Google Bert, which Google is calling its best-ever AI model. Bert provides context to searches by using certain contextual words and natural language that it used to ignore – and the results are now much more accurate. We have refined and trained it further using our own data compiled over the years for South African relevance and slang. This data can then be used to create insights that can be acted upon – such as tracking sales and sentiment, fine-tuning operations and improving efficiencies.


Companies should automate reporting, because this is repetitive, time-consuming and open to human error. Reports can be produced on anything from impressions, clicks and calls to reviews, review scores, social media posts and bookings stats. Generally, anything that’s quantifiable and available to analyse, can be aggregated, counted and automated. 

Any measurable digital marketing stats are generally available through third party Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An API is a link between two sites, for example between ours and Facebook, Google or TripAdvisor’s – that allows you to pass information back and forth. We’ve integrated with these systems to automatically build reports, so that brands don’t have to spend time managing and putting this together – that part of their strategy is automated.

Using the example of a restaurant, in the past, every review had to be categorised by a person who would check if a review was about food or service, for instance. Now, using AI, we can understand exactly what a review or comment is about and we can streamline the process of responding. This way companies can ensure their investment in software is increasing internal ROI and efficiencies, while time spent by employees or suppliers can be used more strategically.

The human response

Humans are still vital to customer interaction, however, not only to deal with negative sentiment but to train the models and communicate insights which have been compiled by AI. AI can show you stats of your strengths and weaknesses, but only when this is combined with a human input will these stats truly become insights and provide value that can be acted upon.

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